Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Animation Books

There are probably many people out there who love animated films but are frustrated because they don't know the industry behind it all. They have so many questions, but there's no one to provide a substantial answer. That's how I felt a few years back. Of course, being an amateur, I still feel that way...but thanks to a great deal of research, I'm not the complete clueless wreck I was before. Here are some reads that I found very useful. Perhaps they may help you in your search to know more:

the Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams- This book is great for anyone who is a beginner with animation. It contains a brief history on animation, teaches many basic techniques and tricks, and flows with personal advice on the industry from Richard Williams himself. Richard Williams, for those of you who do not know, is the co-director of the Academy Award winning Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the film that revived the interest of a Golden Age in American animation. His conversational tone makes this a fun and easy-to-learn read. Both 2-D and 3-D animators LOVE this book. I see people praising it on forums. Animators and artists I've met always recommend this book.

the Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston- Frank and Ollie are two of the legendary Nine Old Men---the lead team of Disney animators who collaborated on all the Disney classics such as Snow White and Seven Dwarves, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Bambii, the Jungle Book, Robin Hood, and the Aristocats. If anyone is a huge Disney fanatic and wants to learn about the Disney animation, this book is on top of the list. I really want to read this book myself, it's a bit pricey but it's definitely worth it. Frank and Ollie write about the problems their team encountered and how they overcome these challenges during production.
the Pixar Touch by David A. Price- This book tells the history of Pixar, how it became one of the greatest financial successes in the entertainment industry. From a band of artists and technicians in the New York Institute of Technology, to the merge with Disney, this book covers the triumphs and tribulations that the founders had to undergo in order to achieve their dreams. I learned A LOT from this book, it's a really informative read.
the Alchemy of Animation by Don Hahn- Don Hahn is a producer at Disney animation studios. He helped with making films such as the Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. This is a fun short read on the basic categories in animation: 3-D, 2-D, and stop motion. The book provides the basic production steps for each category. There's a lot of beautiful artwork done by the Disney staff that are usually not shown to the public---I can't take my eyes off of them! I got this book as a Christmas present from a fellow art friend :) I am forever grateful for her help!

the Art of Walt Disney by Christopher Finch- this is a REALLY big book that covers the history of Disney Animation Studios. There's a lot of great artwork to marvel at, and there's endless information to chew on. I found a tattered copy of this in my local library, and I sort of glued on to it. I love revisiting this book, it's a lot of fun to flip through.

I hope that helped! :)


  1. Excellent information. I was going to produce something like this on my own blog but am pleased to be able to direct to you! If I might also recommend Ellen Besen's "Animation Unleashed" reviewed earlier this year by me, not to omit the illustrations by Bryce Hallet:

    Nice blog you have Vivian!

  2. A lovely guide! [:
    Though it might not help me, it'd be useful for animation-inclined people :D

  3. Ian- thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into it when I have the time!

    Linda-Thank youuuuuu :))))) XDDD